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BOSTON-A state judge here ruled that regulations allowing telecommunications service providers to have mandatory access to apartment and office buildings are unconstitutional. The ruling is expected to have ramifications throughout the country.

Suffolk County Superior Court Justice Mitchell J. Sikora ruled that the state’s regulations governing how building owners should manage and provide telecommunications access to their buildings constituted an impermissible taking of property without just compensation.

Plaintiffs in the case were led by the Greater Boston Real Estate Board and were joined and assisted by the Real Access Alliance, which was founded by BOMA. According to Gerry Lederer of Miller & Van Eaton, Washington counsel for the Real Estate Board, the issue of access to buildings is a shared one. “Telecommunications issues are regulated at the state and federal level,” he tells Globest.com. “We’ve been successful at the federal level and now in 30 states.”

Massachusetts was the only state to pass mandatory access regulations since 1996. “Having these regulations overturned is a tremendous victory for real estate owners,” notes Lederer, who is the former executive director of BOMA International. While three other states still have mandatory access laws – Connecticut, Ohio and Texas – those laws were passed back in the late 1980s. If any of these states try to enforce those regulations, BOMA is prepared to challenge them, Lederer points out. “No one ever tried to come in and enforce them and if they do the local affiliate of BOMA is ready to challenge them immediately,” he says.

While Massachusetts did not try to enforce the regulations, because its laws were enacted relatively recently, BOMA wanted to make an example of the state. “We feared it would start a new round of state enacting these regulations,” he says. “We did not want a new trend to start.”

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